Radiated Wolf Spider

Radiated Wolf Spider

Hogna radiata ■ Pátka, Hungary ■ Wolf spiders are called that because they hunt down their prey on foot rather than trying to snare it in a web. When babies hatch, the female will often carry them around on her back for several weeks to protect them from predation .

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Aeshna mixta ■ Male ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ This is one of the smaller hawker dragonflies. It is found in central and southern Europe and north Africa. In central Europe it is on the wing right through October, especially if the weather is nice.

Rove Beetle

Rove Beetle

Ocypus ophthamalicus ■ Veresegyház, Hungary ■ This small beetle is a nocturnal predator of other smaller creepy-crawlies. It is found across Europe in a variety of habitats but prefers areas with drier soil.

Leaf Beetle

Leaf Beetle

Chrysolina rossia ■ Kiskunlacháza, Hungary ■ Leaf Beetle is a generic common name for any one of about 37,000 species in the Chrysomelidae family. As the name suggests, all members of this family feed on plant material.

Bee-fly

Bee-fly

Bombyliidae sp. ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ A tiny blonde bombshell, but not sure of the species. Bee flies can be tough to ID because there is so many of them. 4,700 known species in the world with many yet to be discovered or described. They are major pollinators of plants.

Green Drake Mayfly

Green Drake Mayfly

Ephemera danica ■ Szelcepuszta, Hungary ■ Mayflies are primitive flying insects belonging to the same ancient order as dragonflies and damselflies. The larva live in fresh water and the adults can form dense swarms when they all emerge at once to mate. In Europe this can happen anytime from May to August depending on the species. The adult stage of their life cycle typically lasts for one day.

Alpine Longhorn Beetle

Alpine Longhorn Beetle

Rosalia alpina ■ Due to sharp population declines from habitat loss, this beetle is classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN and is a protected species in many European countries including Hungary. It is not really an “alpine” species but likes higher elevation mature beech forests.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Mantis religiosa ■ Nagytarcsa, Hungary ■ If you think internet dating is tough, think about how rough it is for mantises. Sex first, then dinner, then she has to go to the movie alone because she just ate her partner for dinner. :D

Small Gold Grasshopper

Small Gold Grasshopper

Euthystira brachyptera ■ Tornakápolna, Hungary ■ One of the commoner grasshoppers on the Hungarian puszta. The specific epithet means “short-winged” in reference to their very stubby wings. As you might guess, this means that they are not great fliers

Forest Dormouse

Forest Dormouse

Dryomys nitedula ■ Nagytarcsa, Hungary ■ Dormice are small, nocturnal, arboreal rodents with bushy tails. Kind of like a cross between a mouse and a squirrel. They eat fruits, nuts, seeds and insects and hibernate during the winter. This species is found in montane habitats in SW Europe, Asia Minor and parts of Central Asia.

Wart-biter

Wart-biter

Decticus verrucivorus ■ Tornakápolna, Hungary ■ People in Europe used to try and remove warts by letting this medium-sized bush cricket chew on them. Although nobody has done this for a couple of hundred years, the name stuck. The long, curved ovipositor at the back end identifies this as a female.

Cicada

Cicada

Cicada orni ■ The cicada’s loud drone is a classic sound of the hottest days of summer. There are about 3,000 species in the world and this is the commonest in southern and central Europe. The larva can take a few years to develop underground, but adults of this species appear every year.

Short-horned Grasshopper

Short-horned Grasshopper

Calliptamus sp. ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ I think this is likely C. italicus but not positive. Despite the designation, C. italicus is found across the continent and is probably the commonest short-horned locust in Europe. A major food source for the Red-footed Falcon.

Pale Giant Horsefly

Pale Giant Horsefly

Tabanus bovinus ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ Not positive on this ID. It could be T. sudeticus. The two species are tied for Europe’s largest and heaviest dipterid. Like most horseflies, only the females bite, as they require the protein from blood to make eggs. They don’t bite humans as much as the much smaller deer flies.

Beautiful Demoiselle

Beautiful Demoiselle

Calopteryx virgo ■ Male (left) Female (right) ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ This large damselfly looks similar to the Banded Demoiselle but the male has entirely black wings. Also it prefers a different habitat. It likes fast moving water, such as rushing mountain streams while the Banded Demoiselle likes calm, slow moving water.

Banded Demoiselle

Banded Demoiselle

Calopteryx splendens ■ Female (left) Male (right) ■ Rétszilás, Hungary ■ This large damselfly is relatively common and is partial to shady spots near water. Like their relatives the dragonflies, damselflies don’t have a pupal stage in their life cycle, progressing from larva directly to adult. This species is found from Portugal all the way to Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Leopard Slug

Leopard Slug

Limax maximus ■ Dinnyés, Hungary ■ Despite the name, this is not the largest slug species I have seen in Hungary. It is native to Europe but has become naturalized in many other parts of the world.

Minstrel Bug

Minstrel Bug

Graphosoma italicum ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Also known as the Striped Bug, its outrageous colour scheme makes it the most recognizable shield bug in Europe, along with the very similar Graphosoma lineatum. The two look so similar, you have to look at leg colour to tell them apart. G. lineatum has brown legs while G. italicum has mostly black legs.

Scarlet Darter

Scarlet Darter

Crocothemis erythraea ■ Male ■ Délegyháza, Hungary ■ The male of this heat-loving species is absolutely unmistakable with its flattened abdomen and striking, deep crimson colour.

Dor Beetle

Dor Beetle

Trypocopris vernalis ■ Nagykovácsi, Hungary ■ Although small, this dung beetle really catches the eye with ultra-glossy iridescence. Found throughout Europe and Asia Minor, it feeds mainly on cattle droppings.

Stretch Spider

Stretch Spider

Tetragnatha extensa ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Not positive on this ID. Tetragnatha spiders are orb weavers mostly found in the tropics near water, but a few species occur in temperate climates. This one has caught a White-legged Damselfy (Platycnemis pennipes).

Dark-winged Wasp

Dark-winged Wasp

Scolia hirta ■ Female ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Scolid wasps are large, solitary insects that parasitize beetle larva. They paralyze the grub and then lay an egg on it. When the eggs hatches, the wasp larva eats the beetle grub alive. This species is found in the Mediterranean Basin and Central Europe.

Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

Argiope bruennichi ■ Female ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ One of Europe’s larger and more colourful orb-weavers, this spider doesn’t eat wasps. Its common name comes from the wasp-like pattern on its abdomen.

Owl Fly

Owl Fly

Libelliodes macaronius ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This spectacular bug is not a true fly, but belongs to the same ancient family as lacewings and antlions. It is a diurnal predator of other flying insects, and the adults are only on the wing for about two to three weeks every year. Owl flies often spread their wings at rest (mimicking a dragonfly) as an aposematic warning to predators.

Southern Skimmer

Southern Skimmer

Orthetrum brunneum ■ Female ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This dragonfly loves heat and direct sunlight. They can often be found basking in the sun on bare patches of earth or rocks near water.

Southern Skimmer

Southern Skimmer

Orthetrum brunneum ■ Male ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Southern Skimmers (like most of Orthetrum genus) are very large dragonflies. They are usually on the wing from mid-June to mid-August. The male will establish a territory and then patrol it to drive away rival males.

Kite-tailed Robberfly

Kite-tailed Robberfly

Tolmerus atricapillus ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Robberflies are renowned for aggressive predatory habits. They will tackle almost anything of suitable size including bees, wasps and spiders. It pierces its prey with a short, strong proboscis, injecting a neurotoxin and a digestive enzyme. While the toxin paralyzes the victim, the enzyme liquifies the insides, so the fly can suck it out through the proboscis. Yum!

Keeled Skimmer

Keeled Skimmer

Orthetrum coerulescens ■ Female ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ With their bold colours and patterns one would think dragonflies are easy to identify but that’s not always the case. This female has virtually the identical colour scheme as the Scarlet Darter. Size and shape of the abdomen are needed to tell them apart.

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

Volucella zonaria ■ Female ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ Note how closely the colour scheme of this hoverfly (left) matches that of the European Hornet (inset). This is known as Batesian mimicry and it is quite common in nature. Dressing up as a bad-ass fools the predators into leaving you alone.

Black-tailed Skimmer

Black-tailed Skimmer

Orthetrum cancellatum ■ Female ■ Rétszílás, Hungary ■ Like most dragonflies, this large dragonfly is found near water, but it prefers areas that are not so heavily vegetated and have patches of bare earth. Proliferation of gravel pits have actually helped this species expand its range by creating the kind of habitat it likes.

Scarlet Darter

Scarlet Darter

Crocothemis erythraea ■ Female ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ In Europe, this dragonfly is only found in the southern part of the continent. Its range extends into Africa and Asia. It likes hot, sunny weather and tends to avoid the shade, which means getting a good photo is tough.

Bee Fly

Bee Fly

Hemipenthes morio ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ In nature, even the parasites have parasites. The larva of this tiny bee fly develop in the larva of parasitic ichneumon wasps.

Longhorn Beetle

Longhorn Beetle

Rhagium sycophanta ■ Aggtelek, Hungary ■ This beetle has much shorter antennae than is typical for longhorn beetles. It is found in deciduous woodland and its colour pattern helps it blend in with tree bark. The grubs feed on damaged or diseased wood.

Violet Oil Beetle

Violet Oil Beetle

Meloe violaceus ■ Velem, Hungary ■ These large, flightless beetles get their name from the oily hemolymphatic fluid they release when disturbed. They have an interesting life cycle. After hatching, the tiny larva will climb a plant and attach itself to a visiting bee to be carried back to the bee’s hive. There it will feed on bee eggs, larva and nectar until it emerges as an adult. Why the bees just don’t kill it is a mystery to me.

Assassin Bug

Assassin Bug

Nagusta goedelii ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ An ambush predator of other small bugs, it injects them with a saliva containing enzymes that dissolves their insides. It then just sucks out the liquified guts like a Slurpee. Yum! :D

Blue Chaser

Blue Chaser

Libellula fulva ■ Female ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ In Britain this species is known as the Scarce Chaser. Only the males sport the blue livery. Ladies, like this specimen, have to settle for dull orange. As dragonflies don’t have a pupal stage in their life cycles, the larva typically take two years to reach adulthood.

Green Tiger Beetle

Green Tiger Beetle

Cincindela campestris ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Tiger beetles are tiny, colourful and fast… both on the ground and in flight. They are tough photo subjects because they are very skittish and never seem to allow close approach.

Longhorn Beetle

Longhorn Beetle

Dorcadion fulvum ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ There are lots of longhorn beetles but many, like this one, don’t have common names. This beetle is found throughout southeastern Europe, and feeds mostly on plant material.

Darkling Beetle

Darkling Beetle

Gnaptor spinimanus ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae) are a large family of about 20,000 species. I use the name here because this species doesn’t have a common name. G. spinimanus likes dry, warm places with loose soil and feeds mostly on dead plant material. It is found in southeast Europe.

Agile Frog

Agile Frog

Rana dalmatina ■ Balatonmagyaród, Hungary ■ This is Hungary’s commonest woodland frog. They usually start breeding in March but this one was out and about on a warm February day.

Common Drone Fly

Common Drone Fly

Eristalis tenax ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ This species is the most cosmopolitan of the syrphids, being found on every continent except Antarctica. Its theme song should be “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys. :D

Common Earwig

Common Earwig

Forficula auricularia ■ Male ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ This bug gets its name from the shape of the wings which resemble a human ear when unfolded. Native to Europe but now naturalized in North America, the earwig is omnivorous and can cause damage to food crops. The male is recognized by the longer, curved pincers at the back end. The female’s are shorter and straighter.

European Mole Cricket

European Mole Cricket

Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa ■ Pátka, Hungary ■ Mole crickets are reasonably common but you don’t see them too often because they spend most of their time in underground burrows. Their front legs have claws adapted for digging.

Blister Bettle

Blister Bettle

Cerocoma schreberi ■ Female ■ Solt, Hungary ■ This species of blister beetle shimmers like a tiny emerald. The color is a warning to predators to stay away as it can produce a nasty toxin if attacked. That’s why it can forage out in the open during the daytime.

Blister Beetle

Blister Beetle

Epicauta rufidorsum ■ Dunaszentbenedek, Hungary ■ As protection against predators, blister beetles produce a toxin that can cause the skin to blister and, at higher doses can be fatal. If enough of these bugs get into fodder, the toxin can kill cattle.

Dice Snake

Dice Snake

Natrix tesselata ■ Nagytétény, Hungary ■ This snake gets its common name from the dots on its underside which resemble markings on dice. It is the most aquatic of Hungarian snakes, feeding mostly on fish, frogs, tadpoles and large aquatic insects.

Black-headed Cardinal Beetle

Black-headed Cardinal Beetle

Pyrochroa coccinea ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ In nature, poisonous species are often brightly coloured as a warning to predators. This is known as aposematism and this conspicuous beetle is an example. The male can produce a poisonous terpene known as cantharidin.

Four-spotted Weevil

Four-spotted Weevil

Leucophyes pedestris ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Weevils are small, herbivorous beetles easily identified by a large or long snout. With a staggering 97,000 species worldwide, they represent the largest family in the order Coleoptera (beetles). This species is found in sandy or calciferous soils in southern Europe.

Wasp Beetle

Wasp Beetle

Clytus arietis ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ This small, relatively common longhorn beetle mimics the color pattern of a wasp so that predators will leave it alone. It can even make a buzzing sound when threatened.

European Spadefoot Toad

European Spadefoot Toad

Pelobates fuscus ■ Pusztaszer, Hungary ■ This small frog spends much of its life underground in sandy or loose soils. Its name comes from the hardened protrusions on the underside of its back feet which it uses to push soil aside and bury itself backwards.

European Field Cricket

European Field Cricket

Gryllus campestris ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ Hungary has a healthy population of this large, bull-headed cricket, but it is in serious decline in other parts of Europe because of habitat loss and fragmentation. It is hard for the species to move around much because it is flightless.

Greater Bee Fly

Greater Bee Fly

Bombylius major ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ Bee flies are masters of the air, being able to hover and change direction with precision as they probe flowers for nectar with their long, rigid proboscis. Although the adults are vegan, they lay eggs near the underground nests of solitary bees and wasps, so that the larva can chow down on the larvae of the bee or wasp.

European Paper Wasp

European Paper Wasp

Polistes dominula ■ Female ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ One of the commoner eusocial wasps, this species is native to southern Europe and North Africa but has become widely naturalized in other parts of the world. They chew up wood and mix it with saliva to form the “paper” for their nests. As with bees, paper wasp society is dominated by the females.

Beewolf

Beewolf

Philanthus sp. ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ Beewolves are solitary wasps that prey on honeybees to feed their young. They paralyze the bee with a sting and then bury it in an underground chamber with an egg. When the egg hatches, the larva feed on the bee. The adults cultivate Streptomyces bacteria in glands at the base of the antennae and transfer these bacteria to the brood cells, which in turn help protect the cell from microbiological pathogens.

Emperor Dragonfly

Emperor Dragonfly

Anax imperator ■ Nymph ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Unlike other winged insects, dragonflies do not have a pupal stage in their life cycle, transitioning straight from larva (like this one) to adulthood. This may account for the very long development time for nymphs. They can take up to a year or more, and undergo multiple moults before they are ready to emerge as adults. Dragonfly nymphs are strictly aquatic and are voracious eaters, equipped with special elongated, hinged jaws for capturing prey.

Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider

Geolycosa vultuosa ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ With a legspan of about 8 cm (3-1/2 inches) this is one of Europe’s largest spiders. There are about 75 members of the Geolycosa genus and this particular species is found only in extreme SE Europe and Asia Minor. Wolf spiders don’t build webs but chase down or ambush their prey. For doing so, they have some of the best eyesight in the spider world.

European Roe Deer

European Roe Deer

Capreolus capreolus ■ Csákvar, Hungary ■ This small deer is widespread in Europe and very common in Hungary in a variety of habitats. It has greyish brown fur most of the year but in late summer the coat turns more russet. It is most active at dawn and dusk and the male’s loud, husky bark is a familiar nighttime sound in the Hungarian countryside.

Deer Fly

Deer Fly

Chrysops sp. ■ Szabadszállás, Hungary ■ There are about 250 species in the Chrysops genus and a lot of them look very similar. I think this may be Chrysops viduatus (Square Spot Deer Fly) but not absolutely sure. Deer flies, like their cousins the horse flies, like the heat. They are typically most active on sunny days when the temperature reaches about 24 celsius or higher. Only the females bite and drink blood, which they need to produce eggs.

Beech Marten

Beech Marten

Martes foina ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ The Beech Marten is reasonably common in urban and suburban environments in Hungary. Strictly nocturnal habits and shyness towards humans means they are not often seen. Too bad you only get a really good look at one when its deceased.

Marsh Frog

Marsh Frog

Pelophylax ridibundus ■ Rétszílás, Hungary ■ This young Marsh Frog has a lot of growing up to do, as this species is Europe’s largest native frog.

European Hornet

European Hornet

Vespa crabro ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ At about 3 cm long, this is Europe’s largest eusocial wasp. It is also the only member of the Vespa genus (ie: true hornets) found in North America.

Northern White-breasted Hedgehog

Northern White-breasted Hedgehog

Erinaceous roumanicus ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ I didn’t know hedgehogs were partial to peanuts until I saw this little guy chowing down in the middle of the day on some I had left out for the birds.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Xanthogramma pedissequum ■ Female ■ Budapest Hungary

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dasypogon diadema ■ Drone ■ Szabadszállás, Hungary ■ The sexes of this predatory fly have different hunting styles. Males tend to hunt on the wing, going after any large flying insect that crosses their flight path within 2 meters. Females prefer to sit on a plant and wait for their dinner to fly by. It often attacks bees. Very long legs, stiff spurs on its lower legs, and a long proboscis make it very well adapted for handling dangerous prey.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Halyomorpha halys ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ The bug that is taking over the world. Originally from the far east, this agricultural pest is spreading like wildfire in North America, South America and Europe. Hardy, adaptable, mobile, a prolific breeder and able to eat a wide variety of plants and fruits makes it very difficult to control.

Soldier Beetle

Soldier Beetle

Cantharis fusca ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ One of the commoner European soldier beetles

Owl Fly

Owl Fly

Libelliodes macaronius ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Unlike other members of its family (lacewings, antlions) that fold their wings along the body, owl flies often spread their wings when at rest. It is thought they do this to mimic dragonflies, which other predatory bugs often avoid.

Owl Fly

Owl Fly

Libelliodes macaronius ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This spectacular bug is not a true fly, but belongs to the same ancient family as lacewings and antlions. It is a diurnal predator of other flying insects, and the adults are only on the wing for about two to three weeks every year.

Ichneumon Wasp

Ichneumon Wasp

Ophion obscuratus ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ A nocturnal, forest-dwelling species that is active during mild winters, this one showed up at our card table in January.

Ichneumon Wasp

Ichneumon Wasp

Netelia testacea? ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Nocturnal ichneumon wasps are often attracted to light such as this specimen which visited our moth light. Not sure on this ID. I think it is Netelia, but possible it could be Ophion genus.

Great Green Bush-cricket

Great Green Bush-cricket

Tettigonia viridissima ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ At six cm long, this is one of Europe’s larger katydids. It is arboreal and carnivorous, eating caterpillars and other larvae. The absence of a long, downward curving ovipositor at the back end indicates this specimen is a male.

Common Green Lacewing

Common Green Lacewing

Chrysoperia carnea ■ Inárcs, Hungary ■ The larvae of this species have huge jaws relative to their size, and are voracious predators of aphids, mites and other tiny bugs. Once adults, however, they eat only pollen and nectar.

Burying Beetle

Burying Beetle

Nicrophorus vespillo ■ Inárcs, Hungary ■ This beetle lays its eggs on a small dead mouse, bird, reptile or amphibian, and then buries the carcass, so its larva can hatch and feed on the carrion in peace. Before burying, it covers the carcass in anti-fungal and anti-bacterial secretions to slow the decay process and inhibit the odor of rotting flesh, so it will be harder for other carrion eaters to find the stash.

Long-horned Beetle

Long-horned Beetle

Chlorophorus varius ■ Rétimajor, Hungary ■ Long-horned Beetle refers to any one of the 26,000 species in the family Cerambycidae. This particular species, seen here feeding on Queen Anne’s Lace, is found from Central to Southern Europe, Asia Minor, the Caucasus and the Middle East.

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

Epistrophe diaphana ■ Rétimajor, Hungary ■ I’m not positive on this ID (it may be Syrphus ribesii). Regardless, it is yet another hoverfly example of Batesian mimicry - where coloration and markings are similar to a wasp, fooling predators into leaving them alone.

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Rhagonycha fulva ■ Rácalmás, Hungary ■ The Brits colloquially refer to this bug as the Hogweed Bonking Beetle because of its preference for mating on hogweed.

Green Huntsman Spider

Green Huntsman Spider

Micrommata virescens ■ Male ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ Huntsman spiders are mostly found in the tropics, with this species being the only one of the family (Sparassidae) found in Europe. They do not build webs, but chase down their bug prey in vegetation, where their green colour helps them blend in.

Red Deer

Red Deer

Cervus elaphus ■ Dunaszentbenedek, Hungary ■ The size of an average horse, Europe’s Red Deer is the 4th largest deer species in the world. It is not too common in the Hungarian lowlands only because of the lack of large stands of mature forest that the deer seem to prefer.

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

Carrhotus xanthogramma ■ Male ■ Rétimajor, Hungary

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Leptoglossus occidentalis ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Native to Western North America, this bug arrived in Europe in 1999 (likely in shipments of lumber) and has since spread rapidly across the continent.

Sand Lizard

Sand Lizard

Lacerta agilis ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ This medium-sized lizard has a widespread if somewhat patchy distribution in Europe and Asia. The subspecies found is Hungary is L.a. argus but I thought this specimen looked more like L.a. bosnica. The problem with many lizard species is that wide variations in appearance is normal, which can make ID difficult.

Golden Jackal

Golden Jackal

Canis aureus ■ Dinnyés, Hungary ■ Similar in size and habits to North America’s coyote, the Golden Jackal is found throughout South Asia, the Middle East, Asia Minor and the southeast corner of Europe. Hungary is the absolute northern limit of its current range. This individual was unsuccessfully stalking waders in the middle of a summer day.

Helmeted Locust

Helmeted Locust

Acrida hungarica ■ Dunaszentbenedek, Hungary ■ A surprise visitor to our moth light was Hungary’s largest (and weirdest-looking) locust.

European Stag Beetle

European Stag Beetle

Lucanus cervus ■ Male ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Like other beetles that need rotting wood habitat, this species is in decline across its range. The mandibles look nasty, but they are so long that the bite force generated is not so strong. They are used mostly for jousting with other males over territory and mates.

Lesser Water Boatman

Lesser Water Boatman

Corixa punctata ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Unlike larger members of the water boatman family, this species does not swim on its back, and it eats only plants. It is highly aquatic but on warm nights the adults will fly around. We had dozens around our moth light on this night.

Bright Horsefly

Bright Horsefly

Hybomitra distinguenda ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ The lack of orange patches on the side of the abdomen means I am not absolutely certain on this ID, but one thing is for sure. This guy has the funkiest shades in the bug world. A fly fly! :D

Violet Carpenter Bee

Violet Carpenter Bee

Xylocopa violacea ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ A massive, solitary, jet black bee with a violet sheen on the wings. The female bores into dead wood to make its nest, hence the common name.

Nursery Web Spider

Nursery Web Spider

Pisaura mirabilis ■ Halásztelek, Hungary

Sawfly

Sawfly

Tenthredo temula ■ Dunakeszi, Hungary ■ A common Eurasian sawfly, this species, like many others in the family, mimic wasps to deter predation.

European June Beetle

European June Beetle

Amphimallon solstitiale ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ As the specific epithet suggests, the adults of this common European scarab beetle emerge from the ground right around the time of the summer solstice in late June. They are active mainly at night, as they fly around looking for a mate.

European Green Toad

European Green Toad

Bufo viridis ■ Érd, Hungary ■ This colorful toad can be found in a wide range of habitats across Central and Eastern Europe .... aquatic, terrestrial, lowland and montane.

Mammoth Wasp

Mammoth Wasp

Megascolia maculate ■ Female ■ Kecskemét, Hungary ■ The Airbus A380 of the wasp world, the Mammoth Wasp is Europe's largest and heaviest wasp. Females are almost 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length. Males are much smaller and all black. This wasp specializes in parasitizing the larva of the European Rhinoceros Beetle.

European Crane Fly

European Crane Fly

Tipula paludosa ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ A familiar sight in houses and gardens in summer, Crane Flies are sometimes mistaken for large mosquitos. Unlike mosquitos, these large, gangly insects don't bite. Crane Fly courtship has to skip the romantic dinner part as they don't eat as adults. They emerge from the ground only to mate and die, sometimes within days.

Northern Pike

Northern Pike

Esox luciusa ■ Tata, Hungary ■ Widespread in temperate regions of Eurasia and North America, the predatory Northern Pike can grow up to 25 kg. With an elongated body, flattened head, sharp teeth, and large dorsal and anal fins set well back on the body for maximum thrust, the pike is built for the kill.

Helmeted Locust

Helmeted Locust

Acrida hungarica ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Sept. 7, 2014 ■ Members of the Acrida genus have a super-elongated forehead with eyes at the very top, just below flat antennae. This bizarre, conehead structure may be an adaptation to help avoid predation by improving its field of vision.

Northern White-breasted Hedgehog

Northern White-breasted Hedgehog

Erinaceous roumanicus ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ Although common, hedgehogs are infrequently seen because of nocturnal habits. They sleep away the day in a cavity or thick bush, and comes out at night to forage for worms, insects, fruits and berries.

European Tree Frog

European Tree Frog

Hyla arborea ■ Female ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ H. arborea is the only member of the extensive tree frog family that is native to Europe, although some of the many subspecies may now be classifed as full species.

Raft Spider

Raft Spider

Dolomedes fimbriatus ■ Female ■ Érd, Hungary ■ So named because it hunts on the surface of the water, it is one of Europe’s largest spiders.

Red-veined Darter

Red-veined Darter

Sympetrum fonscolombii ■ Female ■ Solt Járás-Puszta, Hungary

European Garden Snail

European Garden Snail

Cornu aspersum ■ Dunakeszi, Hungary

Crane Fly

Crane Fly

Tipula lunata ■ Dunakeszi, Hungary ■ Crane flies can be hard to identify, but I think this one is T. lunata. Like all Dipterids (true flies), crane flies have only one pair of wings, with the second pair reduced to club-like appendages called halteres. One of the halteres can be seen well in this photo just astern of the right wing.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Epistrophe grossulariae ■ Female ■ Dunakeszi, Hungary ■ Flies of the family Syrphidae (Hover flies) mimic the appearance of stinging insects such as wasps or bees to deter predation.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Myothropa florea ■ Drone ■ Halásztelek, Hungary ■ Hover flies can be sexed by the space between the eyes at the top of the head. Generally males have eyes that touch, while ladies have a gap between the eyes.

Dock Bug

Dock Bug

Coreus marginatus ■ Dunakeszi, Hungary ■ Living up to its common name, a pair of Dock Bugs look for mates on a Clustered Dock plant.

Black and Red Froghopper

Black and Red Froghopper

Cercopis vulnerata ■ Dunakeszi, Hungary ■ A pair of Froghoppers chilling on an iris flower. Froghoppers belong to the same order of plant-sucking insects that include the cicadas, aphids, and leafhoppers.

European Pond Turtle

European Pond Turtle

Emys obicularis ■ Apaj, Hungary

Antlion

Antlion

Myrmecaelurus trigrammus ■ Taksony, Hungary ■ A great looking black and yellow striped adult antlion.

European Ground Sqirrel

European Ground Sqirrel

Spermophilus citellus ■ Közeppeszer, Hungary ■ Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, this southeastern European native is in decline to the point where it is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.

Rose Chafer

Rose Chafer

Cetonia aurata ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ A common European scarab beetle, the Rose Chafer can fly with its wing cases down, giving it considerably faster and smoother flight than is typical for large beetles.

Edible Frog

Edible Frog

Pelophylax kl. esculentus ■ Rétszilas, Hungary ■ This common European frog is a hybrid between the Pool Frog (P. lessonae) and the Marsh Frog (P. ridibundus). It is the frog most frequently used in French cuisine, hence the name.

Pool Frog

Pool Frog

Pelophylax lessonae ■ Female ■ Solt Járás-puszta, Hungary ■ Not absolutely positive on this ID, as it is sometimes hard to separate this species from the Edible Frog (P. kl esculentus).

Common Flesh Fly

Common Flesh Fly

Sarcophaga carnaria ■ Biatorbágy, Hungary ■ They say shit happens, and nobody is happier about it than this medium-sized European fly. Its main source of sustenance is feces and carrion.

Vagrant Darter

Vagrant Darter

Sympetrum vulgatum ■ Male ■ Rácalmás, Hungary ■ The bulbous abdomen is one feature that helps separate this species from the similar Common Darter (S. striatum).

Bloody-nosed Beetle

Bloody-nosed Beetle

Trimarcha tenebricosa ■ Tass, Hungary ■ This beetle’s common name comes from its defensive strategy of spitting out a red, foul tasting hemolymphatic fluid when threatened.

Bee Fly

Bee Fly

Villa agrippina ■ Female ■ Rácalmás, Hungary ■ I am not absolutely positive on this ID.

Common Scorpion Fly

Common Scorpion Fly

Panorpa communis ■ Budapest, Hungary

European Garden Spider

European Garden Spider

Araneus diadematus ■ Female ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ Also known as the Cross Spider, because the white dots on its back form a cross pattern.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Xanthogramma pedissequum ■ Drone ■ Apaj, Hungary

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Orthonevra sp.? ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ A great-looking but unidentified syrphid. I am guessing Orthonevra genus, but definitely not O. nitida.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Helophilus affinis ■ Female ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ Feeding on Saw-wort.

Edible Dormouse

Edible Dormouse

Glis glis ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This largest dormouse species is so named because the ancient Romans bred them for food. Nocturnal and largely arboreal, dormice spend six months of the year hibernating.

Hazel Dormouse

Hazel Dormouse

Muscardinus avellanarius ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Prior to going underground to hibernate for the winter, family groups hang out in tit nest boxes.

Southern Green Stink Bug

Southern Green Stink Bug

Nezara viridula ■ 4th instar (ie: nymph) ■ Budapest, Hungary

Common European Toad

Common European Toad

Bufo bufo ■ Female ■ Dinnyés, Hungary

European Brown Hare

European Brown Hare

Lepus europaeus ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ Hares are unique as the only mammals with a jointed or kinetic skull. It is thought that this adaptation allows the braincase to better absorb the shock and g-force generated by the animal’s extreme speed.

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dasypogon diadema ■ Female ■ Nagyharsány, Hungary ■ My favorite family of flies is the robber or assassin flies. An ambush predator supremely adapted for the kill, they are the real bad-asses of the dipterid world.

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dasypogon diadema ■ Nagyharsány, Hungary ■ A male (right) courts a female (left). This is one of the larger and more common asilids in Central Europe, and it is partial to limestone karst.

Marmalade Fly

Marmalade Fly

Episyrphus balteatus ■ Kiskunlacháza, Hungary ■ One of Europe’s commoner hover flies, seen here feeding on German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), the common name is probably due to the color on the abdomen. After an adolescence munching on aphids, the adults become vegans, eating mostly pollen and nectar.

Wheat Chafer

Wheat Chafer

Anisoplia austriaca ■ Biatorbágy, Hungary ■ A crop pest in Central and Eastern Europe, this scarab beetle dines on unripe wheat and barley. You might say it is a gluten glutton.

Earth-boring Dung Beetle

Earth-boring Dung Beetle

Geotrupes vernalis ■ Királyrét, Hungary ■ I am reasonably certain this is a Geotrupidae, but I am not positive on the specific ID.

Vivaparous Lizard

Vivaparous Lizard

Zootoca vivapara ■ Juvenile ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ With a range that extends up to the Arctic circle, this is the most northerly reptile species. As both the common and scientific names indicate, it is one of the few that bears live young rather than laying eggs.